Bible Corner

Here are some articles written by Church members that relate to bible study.

Last month I wrote about the Power that comes from the Resurrection, and in particular the power of change signalled by that event and the coming of the Holy Spirit, and not just historically, but in the present too. Sadly, all too often our response is muted when we are put off by the challenges that life brings to us. In the present time we are often deterred by small numbers and feelings of apathy that seem to be expressed towards Christians and faith in general. However, if we think we have it hard then spare a thought for the early believers. Empowered by the Spirit at Pentecost they soon faced hostility from the Jewish authorities that degenerated into harsh persecution.

There is a famous quotation (often misquoted) that runs: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Rather less well known is its author, one Lord Acton (1834 – 1902) who was an adviser to Willliam Gladstone, four times prime minister of Great Britain after 1868. With the British Empire at its height, Gladstone was certainly a powerful man (perhaps the most powerful man in the World as PM at that time), and Acton wielded great power as his adviser. However the quotation actually comes from a letter that Acton (a Roman Catholic) wrote to an Anglican bishop, in which he took the papacy to task for past corrupt behaviour.

Although most Christians have regarded the Bible as authoritative in defining the Faith, there have always been differences of interpretation, evidenced by the wars of religion, persecution of heretics and the 18th Century criticism of "the dissidence of Dissent", But as I survey my own pilgrimage over the last eight decades there are particular passages which I have come to cherish, and which have, as the modern expression goes, "resonated" with me. I should like to share them with you.

 

On Saturday 9th October 2010 a group of some twenty people from a number of churches around the Synod met in the James Hall for a day led by Reverend Paul Stokes. Paul is minister of Plymstock in Plymouth, Devon for three-quarters of his time, and an advocate for GEAR, the Group for Evangelism And Renewal within the United Reformed Church, for the remaining quarter of his time. He is one of three ministers so employed across England (which amounts to three-quarters of a full-time-minister). GEAR is funded by donations from individuals within the URC, and not directly by the national Church, although it is almost as old as the URC itself. It exists to assist Churches with what can seem like a difficult subject: Evangelism.

The subjects of war and peace seem to be ever relevant, and in the run up to Easter it is interesting to look at Jesus' approach to these matters. Please read {bible}Matthew 26, verses 47-56{/bible}.